Saturday, July 4, 2009

Roast pumpkin with spiced tomato sauce

Serves 2

This being such a simple dish of roast vegetables only really makes the grade through timing - catching the pumpkin as its edges start to turn from golden to burnt (never a bad thing) and cooking the tomatoes for the sauce to the point where the majority of the water has evaporated so it doesn't leak and split when served on the plate. Spice level too; try as I might, but chilli strength is an area where you can never rely on the last quantity you worked with. The sauce needs to be rustic and chunky, and have a sweetness from the blackened tomato skins which release a lot of their natural sugars in the process. I'd consider the nuttiness of cous cous or brown rice to go with this, flavoured with mint and lemon wouldn't be a criminal act either.

950g tomatoes
2 cloves garlic olive oil
2 small hot chillies
1kg pumpkin or squash

Preheat the oven to 200 c/gas mark 6. Cut the tomatoes in half and place them cut side up on a baking sheet or roasting tin. Drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt, pepper and the finely chopped chilli. Roast for 45-50 minutes until the tomatoes are soft and lightly flecked with black.
Meanwhile, halve and peel the pumpkin. Cut into thick, melon-like slices and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Place on a baking sheet, toss in a little olive oil and season with salt and black pepper. Roast for 40 minutes, turning over after 20 minutes or so. It is done when it is fully tender to the point of a knife and a blackened sticky on the cut edges.

Roughly chop the tomatoes to give you your coarse sauce, and warm through in a pan lightly to evaporate any excess water. Serve with the roasted pumpkin and some rice or cous cous.